Take One–Even The Table

Take One.jpeg

It’s so nice when people give things away for free.


Here someone made a table of throw-a-ways and invited people to take what they wanted. 


But there was one catch…

FREE STUFF

Please Take What You Like

Please don’t take the table

Gee, I guess there are people out there that would really take the table or the kitchen sink, as they say. 


We have to remind people where the red lines are.


If only our last President has remembered our nation’s red lines rather than let 500,000 be slaughtered in Syria (and with chemical weapons) and our ambassador murdered in Benghazi. 


But as he said as he commuted the sentence for Chelsea Manning who stole 750,000 pages (including classified information) from the government, “justice was served”–this after only 7 years of a 35-year sentence–just 20%–that’s justice for our exiting President. 


Chelsea Manning took what he liked and the table too!


And we’re the laughing stock of the world again as we let the theft of classified documents leave the country to Wikileaks, but that goes right along with his letting hundreds of terrorists out of GITMO with 30% returning to terrorism


We’re full of free give-a-ways aren’t we–even when we’re being robbed blind–what’s his approval rating again?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Our Assets Are Compromised

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So in the games that nations play, spy games is #1 on the hit parade.


Of course, it’s about using information to get a strategic advantage. 


It runs the gamut from pure espionage in terms of stealing state secrets and intellectual property to conducting stealthy subversive acts to undermine enemies and competitors. 


Whatever spies do, it’s all about compromising assets…whether they be human, information, or critical infrastructure. 


From turning patriots into traitors, words into info warfare, or critical infrastructure in trojan horses ready to im/explode…whatever leads to getting the upper-hand or advantage. 


What one nation comes to rely on for their sustainment and survival is instead exploited and turned against them like a trojan horse or modern-day malware.


And with people, using money, sex, ideology, compromising material (Kompromat), or threats against loved ones–it’s simply about appealing to either opportunism or extortion. 


So truly defense means protecting not only what before one’s eyes, but also what in the rear and at the flanks. 


When the over 21 million personnel records and background investigations where stolen from OPM on virtually all federal employees (civilian, military, and intelligence personnel) a door was left open and the demon is still hiding and waiting to cross the threshold, infiltrate, exfiltrate, and compromise. 


As an society that meaningfully values an open and transparent democracy, we can perhaps too easily become lured or lax to common sense safeguards and vigilance, but that does not excuse negligence, incompetence or stupidity.


Rich people and countries around the world can unknowingly falter by becoming overly comfortable and full of themselves…to the point where many don’t fully care about their jobs or their country, as they sit in their mansions, designer clothes, and with busting bellies.


From the need to vastly improve our competencies in cyberwarfare to defending ourselves from a tidel wave of global terrorism to upgrading the U.S. nuclear triad against resurgent superpowers and dangerous rogue dictators, we have let our guard down to compromise. 


Is expelling 35 Russian diplomats an effective strategy against their technical attempts to subvert our free and democratic elections or does it just underscore how vulnerable we continue to be?


When as a country and with our leadership, we decide to get serious rather than stay scared and war weary then we will not only stand firm again, but fight against weakness and compromise of ourselves. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bombs But No Strategy

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So the good news is that we have killed about 45,000 ISIS terrorist fighters.


The bad news is two-fold:


First, there are still roughly 15,000-30,000 remaining and more being recruited all the time. 


Second, it took us 49,315 bombs dropped over two years to do this. 


So we are averaging less than 1 kill per bomb!


Sure, we are also hitting other targets like oil and gas infrastructure and tankers.


But about 20,000 of the munitions dropped are GPS precision-guided (e..g Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Small Diameter Bombs, and Hellfire Missiles) and have cost $2 billion!


That comes out to a cost of around $45,000 just for just 40% the bombs to kill each and every ISIS terrorist, and doesn’t even include all the extensive military infrastructure, planes, intelligence, and people. 


And this is just a super tiny drop in the bucket compared to the $4-$6 trillion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after 9/11, has cost just through 2013


–That represents between 20-30% of our our entire $20 trillion national debt!


At this rate, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the other terrorists may simply be able to cause irreparable damage and even bankrupt America.


How long can we afford to fight these extended and expensive wars against terrorism and never seem to even win–what’s the strategy here? Is there one? 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to vaXzine)

Just Cut It Out

cut-it-out

What a way to handle global leadership…all you have to say is,  just “Cut it out!” and your job is done. 


– Cyber attacking the U.S. democratic election, invasion of Crimea, and encroaching on NATO with nuclear capable missiles…just cut it out! 


– Vast destruction of Aleppo including hospitals, schools, and markets, killings, refugees, and humanitarian crisis, and the dangerous use of chemical weapons on civilians…just cut it out!


– China stealing our drone and militarizing the South China Sea…just cut it out!


– North Korea testing advanced nukes and ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe and America and threatening to use them…just cut it out!


– Iran taking our sailors captive, humiliating them, buzzing our warships, and violating the nuclear arms deal…just cut it out!


– Abandoning our friends and allies and befriending our enemies sworn to kill us and not even being able to say the words, “Radical Islamist”…just cut it out!


– Spiraling divisiveness, rioting in our inner cities, and cycles of racial and police violence…just cut it out!


– An unsustainable Obamacare with double digit rising rates and decreasing insurance choices (many localities with only 1)…just cut it out!


– Doubling of the U.S. national debt by another $10 trillion and enacting regulations that are strangling business…just cut it out!


– Endless ISIS and other terrorist attacks (yesterday on Berlin, Zurich, Turkey and more) and calls it “workplace violence” or a traffic accident…just cut it out!


Anyone who says that now “We’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” truly must be referring to where we come from and not where we are going.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Returning Our US Drone

chinese

So I love and respect China, and think they are one of the greatest nations of the world.


However, it is wrong that their military stole a US drone in international waters. 


Bullying and theft is a violation of the rule of law and a challenge to America on the international stage. 


So far, our leadership from behind approach has again done virtually nothing, except like a child, ask for it back (after they have already taken whatever they wanted from it). 

Moreover, this is not the first time China has captured our assets and people–less than 6 years ago, they collided into one of our EP-3E surveillance aircraft and captured, interrogated , and held the crew for 11 days!


And hence our planes and ships keep getting buzzed, our citizens captured and humiliated, our assets confiscated illegally, and our secret intellectual property unabashedly hacked and copied.


Moreover, we are seeing a resurgent Russia in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria; a militarized China expanding and weaponizing the South China Sea, a belligerent North Korea with ever further reaching ballistic nukes, and an Iran that violates their nuclear deal at will and now runs amuck with military operations from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and more. 


Oh, and surely let’s not forget ISIS and the global wave of Islamic terrorism that is unabated from Paris to Orlando. 


Despite our outspending the next leading 8 nations combined on the military, we continue to be the laughing stock internationally with world leaders calling our Presidents everything from the devil to an SOB


No one would dare do this with Putin’s Russia!


Why? Because they know the ridiculous price they would pay. 


We have long since passed the time when we should’ve stopped the whining, begging, and acting the victim, and instead start to do something real to defend ourselves and once again establish a no-nonsense deterrent, rather than a joke of red lines and hollow threats.


Our Commander-in-chief, instead of laying blame at the doorstep of Congress or world leaders doing the wrongdoing, should start to act his position. 


Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s a single phone call to whoever has our drone that says something like, “You have exactly 2 hours to return the drone unharmed or the ship that was responsible for stealing it will pay the consequences–and the clock starts ticking now!”


The funny-sad thing is that bullies don’t stop bullying until you stand up to them once and for all. 


A real Commander In Chief protects his nation and his people and doesn’t let them be victimized in a endless cycle of violence and shame…and he does it before something really bad can happen. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

{Saving Us From DC Ground Zero}

dc

One well-placed nuclear suitcase bomb or nuclear ballistic missile strike on DC and say goodbye to virtually the entire hub of the Federal government. 


As of 2014, there are over 4.2 million federal employees (2.7M in the civilian agencies and 1.5M in the military). 


Over 500K are located in the DC, MD, VA tristate area. 


But it’s not just the numbers, it’s that the headquarters of all the major government agencies are located here. 


While, of course, there are backup sites, and emergency doomsday sites like Mount Weather (48 miles from DC), there is no telling how much advance notice, if any we would have, and who would escape and survive a deadly blow to our capital region. 


And it could be a radiological, chemical, biological, or nuclear (RCBN) attack that does us in…whether from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea or other diabolical enemy out there. 


The point is that by concentrating all our federal headquarters and senior leadership and key resources here we are in fact, giving the enemy an easy shot to decapitate the entire country?


While others (like Paul Kupiec in the WSJ) have questioned whether some of the federal agencies can be moved out to other needy cities and communities across the country for economic reasons (to bring jobs and investment) especially those agencies that are actively looking to build new HQS buildings already (e.g. FBI and Department of Labor), to me the far more potent question is one of national security. 


The main advantage of having the crux of the federal government in the DC area is surely one of coordination–the President wants his Cabinet near him and the Cabinet Secretaries want their senior staff near them, and so on and so on. 


So, you get this mass concentration of a who’s who of the federal government in and around Washington, DC. 


But what about the advances of technology? 


Surely, through networks and telecommunications and teleworking, we can support a geographically diverse workforce and do no significant harm to our operating as one.


We’re talking a very big cultural change here!


It’s one thing to have nuclear missiles roaming the seas on attack submarines waiting for orders from Washington, DC and it’s quite another to move the actual government intelligentsia and leadership out from the central hub. 


Let’s face it, in a real crisis situation, with the chaos and panic and transportation overflow and perhaps simultaneous cyberattacks, no one is really going to be going anywhere–especially in a surprise attack. 


If Pearl Harbor (of which we just celebrated the 75th anniversary) and 9/11 teach us anything is that when the sh*t hits the fan, it hits hard and sticks solid. 


Working in the Metro DC area, selfishly, I’d like to say keep the investment, jobs, and great opportunities here.


For the good of the nation and our survival against true existential threats, we’d be much smarter to spread the federal wealth as far and wide across this great nation that we can. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

An Ironic Cabinet Lineup {humorous}

shhh

[Please only read this with a sense of political humor.]


Here are some funny ideas for domestic and foreign picks for a fantasy Cabinet team:


Department of Defense – (Oh no) Russian President Vladimir Putin because he knows how to fight and win wherever he wants. 


Department of State – (Oh no) Julian Assange because he has so may of the cables anyway.


Department of Treasury – (Oh no) President Barack Obama because he doubled the national debt to $20 trillion and it’s no problem.


Department of Commerce – Chinese President Xi Jinping because he has most of the world’s manufacturing and the biggest trade surplus. 


Department of Justice – (Oh no) James Comey (with all due respect) because he could investigate Hillary Clinton and deem her “extremely careless” with national security and yet also do the job of the prosecutors and recommend that “no reasonable” one would bring such a case. 


Department of Education – (What if) Sergey Brin and Larry Page because they made Google the most valuable company in the world by organizing all the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful. 


Department of Labor – (What if) Ken Jennings who was beaten in Jeopardy by IBM’s Watson, and understands that artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics will soon be eating people’s lunch. 


Department of Homeland Security – (Oh no) Edward Snowden because he already knows all about surveillance–how we conduct it, how to evade it, as well as the vulnerabilities in our security. 


Department of Transportation – (What if) Elon Musk because of his leadership in electronic vehicles here on earth as well as rockets to even get us to Mars. 


Department of Energy – (Oh no) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani because he knows how to get his nukes while ridding his country of sanctions and getting $150 billion to continue global terror


Department of Agriculture – (Oh no) Any of the notorious drug kingpins because they know how to grow it, distribute it, and make lots of money doing it. 


Department of Interior – (Oh no) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because he manages one of the most remote (Isolationist) nations on Earth and does it with virtually complete self-sufficiency. 


Department of Veterans Affairs – (Oh no) Bowe Bergdahl because he was charged with desertion and still managed to get honored in a White House ceremony.


Environmental Protection Agency – (Oh no) Former CEO of BP John Browne because he knows the ramifications of being responsible for one of the worst polluting industrial accidents in history in the Gulf of Mexico.


Housing and Urban Development – (What if) Ivanka Trump because she is an absolute class act and helps run one of the greatest brands in building and managing real estate worldwide. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via National Geographic)